Wave the banner of profit!

ImageIf you take a look around, you will notice banner advertising in many different forms. You might even say the past few years have been, well, banner years for this flexible fabric. No longer is a banner just a piece of vinyl with cut letters stuck to it. There are now scores of different banner possibilities, from visual merchandising to architectural enhancements.

As a copy/print/sign shop, you can now offer your customers a wide range of application possibilities. The magic is in the substrates! With an inkjet printer and an open mind, your banner options are almost endless.

To help you expand your business, banner material manufacturers offer many materials to choose from. Selecting the right material is simply a matter of speaking to a knowledgeable salesperson and then experimenting on your own. Here are some product guidelines:

Scrim Vinyl Banner
Scrim vinyl has a very strong integral nylon mesh, and is usually identified by a pattern of visible squares that run through it. Scrim banners are ideal for outdoor use (especially for event graphics) but may curl with time. This product provides exceptional ink dry times, excellent draping, and can be sewn and grommeted.

Polypropylene Banner
Polypropylene banner is a very smooth and strong banner designed for short-term retail signage needs. This low-cost, flat, tear-resistant banner should be stitched for additional support and may not be suitable with certain printers (those using heated platens). Heated platens (usually found on solvent-based printers) may stretch the material.

Tyvek Banner
For durable, wide-format banners, streamers, and signs, Tyvek banners offer a high tear resistance and can be grommeted for flexible banners. Tyvek is the material that builders use to insulate the outside of the house, so it is very strong and lightweight, yet it takes a great image with eye-catching colors. The primary drawbacks are that it is expensive and can yellow over time. It is ideal for short term (less than 1 year) outdoor applications.

Tear-Resistant Wet-Strength Paper
Tear-Resistant Wet-Strength Paper is a tear-resistant, one-side-coated paper. This latex-saturated, nylon-reinforced sheet offers an economical solution for short term, indoor promotional banner applications, promotional posters, and decorative wall covering applications.

Blockout Banner
This kind of banner is constructed with a blockout material in between 2 substrates to prevent light from passing through it. Different types of banner material can be made into blockout, such as scrim or fabric. This kind of banner is well suited to 2-sided printing.

Mesh Banner
This lightweight, but tightly woven, mesh vinyl-coated material has a polyester scrim and a highly receptive surface for crisp, clear images. This fabric is designed for interior and exterior single-sided banners. The mesh material allows wind to pass through it. It is ideally suited for use against a solid surface, like a building, but can be used for some retail applications where the mesh can hang inside a store’s display window and act like a window perforation. Mesh banners are rated based on the hole size and the weight of the material.

Backlit Banner
Backlit Banner is a PVC-laminated smooth white very fine polyester scrim. In most cases it is less expensive than backlit film. It’s great for large backlit stage graphics and signs and can be used indoors and outdoors.

Fabric Banner
Fabric is one of the best materials to make banners with, even though it is the most expensive. Fabric banners hang naturally and are pleasing to the eye. The fabric banner is ideal for producing flags, displays, window decorations, stage banners, trade show graphics, roll-up displays, and window backlits. Types of fabric banners can include canvas, poly poplin, nylon, poly duck, Dacron, poly satin, poly lucent, and poly silk. In most cases, fabric banners are finished with pole pockets at the top so they can hang straight and flat.

Concluding thoughts
If you have an aqueous-based printer (such as a Canon, Epson, or HP) the banner material must be coated in order for the material to receive the ink, unless you get a water-resist material, in which case you can do short-term outdoor applications. If you have a solvent or eco-solvent printer you will not need to coat most materials. However, fabric banners will print better when coated.

Banners are a great way to bring in extra revenue, and customers will come back again and again. If you need further advice on materials or printers, don’t hesitate to call or email me.
Peter Dulis
Wide Format Printing Specialist
T: 647.895.3315
E: pdulis@iprimus.ca